Florida’s unemployed still struggling despite national drop in jobless claims

Jobless claims are down for another week and 881,000 Americans filed initial claims for benefits last week.

Cynthia Cox can’t wait much longer.

“Hurry up and send the money out, people need help, I mean, really. They do,” she said.

She’s been out of work since May, relying weekly on $125 from the state and, at one time, $600 from the feds.

That’s gone now and the new $300 a week in Lost Wages Assistance from the federal government hasn’t hit anyone’s pocket in Florida yet.

“You can have a job one day, and then have to be unemployed the next,” Cox said. “But if your rent is due, how are you going to pay your rent?”

New jobless claims dropped below a million last week across the country, signaling improvement.

“We continue to go in the right direction,” said Tom Smythe, a finance professor at Florida Gulf Coast University.

But he also says that improvement still depends on how our health situation goes. It’s important to note that these numbers from the Department of Labor had to be adjusted and calculated differently than weeks prior, to take into account the seasonal drop-off in employment that typically happens at the end of the summer.

“If they don’t then you can see jumps in numbers simply as a function of the season,” he said.

Still, Cox says she’s trying to find work, but for her, the clock is ticking. “I don’t know if I can handle two more weeks, I have to do something.”

We asked the Department of Economic Opportunity how much longer people will have to wait for Lost Wages Assistance, but we haven’t gotten a straight answer.

Also, the waivers for work search, work registration and waiting week payments expire this Saturday Sept. 5. The governor has not said whether he plans to extend them.

For ongoing updates and information on unemployment, follow WINK News Investigative Reporter Sara Girard on Twitter and Facebook.

She also updates the WINK News FAQ: Unemployment Resources page as information is received.

Reporter:Sara Girard
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